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Saint Peter

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“First among Equals”

Today’s feast places the Chair or “Cathedra” of Saint Peter at the center of our attention and to a certain extent the specific “Mission” Jesus entrusted to Peter. The “chair” symbolizes the authority of St Peter and his successors who have served the Church of Jesus Christ as the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) as one with Christ’s mission that is “Pasturing” with the task of feeding His sheep and tending His lambs.

According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus asks the Twelve Apostles, “Who do you say that I am?” The only response Jesus acknowledged was that of Peter, who said that Jesus was the son of the living God. Peter’s answer is heavenly inspired, and from that point Peter is singled out among the apostles to be the rock of Christ’s Church on earth and became first among equals. Today we celebrate the unity of the Church, founded upon the Apostle Peter who acknowledged Jesus as the son of the living God. It’s not the flesh and blood had revealed that Jesus as the son of the living God but God the heavenly Father which renew our assent to the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, extend both to truths which are solemnly defined ex cathedra, and to all the acts of the ordinary Magisterium.

According to Jesus, the Church will be so rock solid that “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Later, following the Resurrection, Jesus confirms Peter’s primacy over the other apostles as well as authority over His Church. He gives Peter the keys to the kingdom, telling him- to “Feed my lambs…. Feed my sheep” (Jn 21:15-17). This authority, this responsibility given to Peter, is meant to be passed on to each of his successors. Jesus did not intend for the Church to end with Peter’s leadership but he was first among equals and now we have the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church that is our dear Pope Francis.

On this feast day, the universal Church acknowledges that St. Peter was the first pope and that his mission continues through the Holy Father Pope Francis today. The mission is to care for the people of God; to carry on the customs, rituals, teachings and truths of Jesus; and to uphold the unity of His Church and the peace of Christ among people. The Pope’s authority is a gift, serving order and truth in the Church. God, however, does not make humans holy and save them merely as individuals, without bond or link between one another. Rather has it pleased Him to bring all humans together as one people, a people which acknowledges Him in truth and serves Him in holiness. All are called to be part of this catholic unity of the people of God which in promoting universal peace presages it. And there belong to or are related to it in various ways, the Catholic faithful, all who believe in Christ, and indeed the whole of humankind, for all are called by the grace of God to salvation.

For those who believe in Christ, who are reborn not from a perishable but from an imperishable seed through the word of the living God, not from the flesh but from water and the Holy Spirit, are finally established as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people, equals who in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God. God in Heaven, we thank You for the ordered community of faith we enjoy in the Catholic Church. Your chosen vicar, Saint Peter, guided the early Church and guides Her still, ensuring that we remain one, holy, catholic, and apostolic until the end of time. Continue to grace Your Church with the unity so necessary to accomplish Her mission on earth.

 + In Christ, 

Father Henry Peter MSFS,

Sacred Heart Church,

Bhusawal, Maharashtra, India.


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